Do you know who is the "King of the Paddle and Roll"?
Firstly I would like to thank you Dormeshia Sumbry Edward for passing down the knowledge to me! We met in 2019 Seoul Tap Festival.
Lon Chaney, the rhythm tap dancer hailed as the "King of the Paddle and Roll," was born Isaiah Chaneyfield in South Carolina. Trained as a boxer, he became interested in tap dance when he moved to New York City where, in the time-honored tradition of tap dance, he learned to tap in the street. As his sister Evelyn Peterson recalled, "He saw someone dancing, loved it and asked how to do it." He shortened his last name and renamed himself Lon, not after the Hollywood Chaneys, but because he liked the name. In the 1960's and 70's, Chaney began performing with The Original Hoofers, a fraternity of rhythm tap dancers that at one time or another included Chuck Green, Jimmy Slyde, Ralph Brown, Baby Laurence, and Raymond Kaalund. In 1969, The Hoofers participated in the Bert Wheeler Theatre in Tap Happenings (1969), demonstrating with ease how tap had no one rhythmic style or sensibility. Given the size of the foot, the weight and build of the dancer, the influences in the training, each was unto his own as to how to play the lexicon of basic steps that comprised the shuffle, flap, hop, and stomp.
Lon Chaney and Dr. Bunny Briggs did not invent the paddle and roll, but instead developed the step to its maximum potential.
There are four elements to the paddle and roll: a dig, a back brush of the ball of the foot, stepping on the ball of the foot, and a heel. The “paddle” constitutes the dig and the brush, while the roll is the action of dropping the toe and heel in a smooth and controlled motion.
Other names for the paddle and roll include the drumming term paradiddles and the gangster-inspired Tommy Gun.
Some say that the paddle and roll originated in the Midwest as an answer to the East coast style of dancing, and dancer/choreographer Buddy Bradley owes the step to the Flamenco style of dancing. Regardless of its origin, the paddle and roll has become one of the most popular tap steps and is often the first step that comes to mind when students are asked at random to show off some steps.
To say that any tap dancer is king of the paddle and roll may land you in hot water.